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Opening Plenary Speaker
International Speakers

Dr Christopher Dye, Director of Strategy, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland

Dr Chris Dye’s research has focused on the large-scale dynamics of tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, malaria, Ebola and other infectious diseases, and he has worked at field sites in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America. Amongst other topics, he has investigated the rise of tuberculosis linked to HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa, and the spread and containment of antimicrobial resistance.

As part of his current work as Director of Strategy at the World Health Organization, he is continuously engaged in the process of translating science into health policy, in collaboration with governments and other agencies.

In addition to being a Fellow of the Royal Society, Chris is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and a Fellow of the Society of Biology. Between 2006 and 2009, he presented public lectures as Gresham Professor of Physic at Gresham College in the city of London.

Professor Elaine Holmes, Head of Division of Computational & Systems Medicine, Imperial College, London

Professor Holmes is the Head of the Division of Computational and Systems Medicine and a Professor of Chemical Biology in the Department of Surgery and Cancer at Imperial College, in London, UK. She has over 20 years experience in metabonomic technology and its applications. Her focus is on the discovery and development of metabolic biomarkers of disease in personalised healthcare and population studies with significant contributions to cardiovascular, neuroscience and infectious disease research.

Recently Professor Holmes has driven large-scale profiling efforts defining the concept of the metabolome-wide association study (MWAS) in molecular epidemiology, specifically exploring the link between hypertension, diet and metabolic profiles. She has also developed methods for characterizing gut microbiome host metabolic interactions and has applied these to the study of gastrointestinal related diseases including colorectal cancer, obesity and IBD. She also has an established track record in the development of chemometric and statistical methods for analysis of Omics data.

Dr Chris Smith, The Naked Scientist, Sir Walter Murdoch Distinguished Adjunct Professor, Public Education of Science, Murdoch University​

Dr Chris Smith is a medical consultant specialising in clinical microbiology and virology at Cambridge University and its teaching hospital, Addenbrooke's. He is also a Fellow Commoner at Queens' College, Cambridge.

Chris started the Naked Scientists radio show, podcast and website back in 1999. He co-presents the Naked Scientists, is the science correspondent for the ABC RN (Radio National) Breakfast show, Australia, presents "5 live Science" on BBC Radio 5 Live on Saturday mornings and also talks science and answers listeners' questions for thirty minutes every Friday morning on Primedia's Talk Radio 702 / 567 CapeTalk, in South Africa. Chris also fronts the Royal Society of Chemistry's Chemistry World podcast, he founded and presented the first 100 episodes of the Nature Podcast for the journal Nature, and he has since also launched "The eLife Podcast" for the eLife open access online journal.

Chris has also published 4 popular science books internationally, one of them - Crisp Packet Fireworks, which has become a best-seller and been translated into multiple languages - co-authored with fellow Naked Scientist Dave Ansell.

Professor Russell Foster, Head, Nuffield Laboratory of Ophthalmology & the Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute, University of Oxford, UK

Russell Foster is Professor of Circadian Neuroscience and the Head of Department of Ophthalmology. He is also a Nicholas Kurti Senior Fellow at Brasenose College. Prior to this, he was at Imperial College where he was Chair of Molecular Neuroscience within the Faculty of Medicine. Russell Foster’s research spans basic and applied circadian and photoreceptor biology.

He received his education at the University of Bristol under the supervision of Professor Sir Brian Follett. from 1988–1995 he was a member of the National Science Foundation Center for Biological Rhythms at the University of Virginia and worked closely with Michael Menaker. In 1995 he returned to the UK and established his group at Imperial College. For his discovery of non-rod, non-cone ocular photoreceptors he has been awarded the Honma prize (Japan), Cogan award (USA), and Zoological Society Scientific & Edride-Green Medals (UK). He is the co-author of “Rhythms of Life” a popular science book on circadian rhythms.

Dr Ramanuj Dasgupta, Group Leader, A*Star Genome Institute of Singapore

Dr Ramanuj DasGupta received his Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from St. Stephen’s College and an affiliated Master’s degree in Genetics from Cambridge University. He also went on to earn a Ph.D. in Developmental Biology at the University of Chicago and to pursue postdoctoral studies at Harvard Medical School. In 2005, Ramanuj started his own laboratory at NYU School of Medicine/NYU Cancer Institute and recently transitioned it to the Genome Institute of Singapore. Currently, his lab is focused on investigating the molecular regulation and function of cancer-signaling pathways in tumor progression, metastasis and treatment resistance using the power of the murine/human disease-relevant cell culture and animal PDX models.

Dr Gopal Kundu, Scientist 'G' National Centre for Cell Science, Pune University Campus, India

Dr Gopal Kundu is a cell biologist and researcher at National Centre for Cell Science. He is known for his contributions to the regulation of melanoma and breast cancer. An elected fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences, India, he received the National Bioscience Award for Career Development of the Department of Biotechnology in 2003. The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, the apex agency of the Government of India for scientific research, awarded him the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for Science and Technology, one of the highest Indian science awards, in 2004, for his contributions to biological sciences.

His area of research at NCCS is tumour biology, regulation of gene expression, cell signalling, angiogenesis, cancer therapeutics, biomarker studies for cancer detection, and nano medicine.

Professor Nancy J. Cox, Director, Vanderbilt Genetics Institute, Nashville Tennessee, USA

Professor Nancy J. Cox, Director, Vanderbilt Genetics Institute

Her current research is focused on large-scale integration of genomics with other “-omics” data, as well as biobank and electronic medical records data.

Her laboratory develops methods for analyzing genetic and genomic data and then applies those methods to the analysis of genome data on common diseases and translational phenotypes, such as pharmacogenomics traits, with a particular focus on the integration of information on genome function with methods for the analysis of genome data on icogenomics, breast cancer, diabetes and its complications, autism, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, Tourette Syndrome and OCD.

Her work has also been funded to develop methods for the analysis of 1,000 Genomes Project data as well as GTEx Project data. In addition, through her activities as VGI Director, she will be enhancing the number of samples with genome interrogation in BioVU and plans to make the results of new types of statistical genomics analyses on BioVU data available.

Dr Annette MacLeod, Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine, University of Glasgow

Dr MacLeod works on single-celled parasites, African trypanosomes, which present a significant burden to large areas of sub-Saharan Africa, leading to an estimated $1.3 billion annual loss to the African economy. The majority of this economic cost is attributable to the veterinary disease Nagana, caused by the animal trypanosome species T. vivax, T. congolense and T. b. brucei. Nagana affects over 20 million livestock animals, lowering herd productivity and increasing mortality. This renders large areas of sub-Saharan Africa inhospitable for the more profitable livestock species and breeds. More directly, in humans, African trypanosomes cause the debilitating and often fatal disease African sleeping sickness, leading to a loss of 1.3 million disability-adjusted life years (DALY) to the African economy annually. The majority of trypanosome species are unable to infect humans due to an innate resistance mechanism. However, the T. brucei subspecies T. b. rhodesiense and T. b. gambiense have evolved to overcome this innate resistance and can infect humans. Of the two human-infective subspecies, T. b. gambiense is the more prevalent, causing more than 95% of human cases.

Professor Elizabeth Jane Phillips, M.D. Vanderbilt University School of Medicine & Murdoch University

Elizabeth Phillips, MD serves as Co-Director of PC-SWG. She is Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology, and Director of Personalized Immunology in the Oates Institute of the Vanderbilt University Division of Clinical Pharmacology. She is also Director Centre for Clinical Pharmacology and Infectious Diseases at Murdoch University.

Professor Phillips’ research program defines the immunopathogenesis of drug hypersensitivity, the genetic determinants of efficacy and toxicity of HIV antiretroviral treatment as well as the pharmacokinetics of antiretroviral drugs in distinctive treatment populations.

Current work has focused on the immunopathogenesis and pharmacogenetics of drug hypersensitivity reactions related to antiretrovirals such as abacavir and nevirapine. Professor Phillips was a consultant/investigator on two large pivotal clinical trials -  one based in Europe and one in the United States  for the diagnosis of abacavir hypersensitivity reaction. She currently actively participates in international consortia/collaborations that will be crucial to define the pharmacgenomics of rare drug reactions with a high morbidity and mortality such as Stevens-Johnson Syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis.

Professor Jeremy Nicholson, Imperial College, London

Jeremy K. Nicholson is a professor of biological chemistry and head of the Department of Biomolecular Medicine, Division of Surgery, Oncology, Reproductive Biology and Anaesthetics at the Imperial College London.

He has worked at Birkbeck College, London University, at the London School of Pharmacy and at Imperial College London and has held honorary professorships at six universities and two professorships at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, of which he was elected as an Albert Einstein Honorary Professor in 2014.

He is also founder director, chief scientist and chief scientist officer at Metabometrix, an Imperial College spin-off company specializing in molecular phenotyping, clinical diagnostics and toxicological screening via metabonomics and metabolomics.

Professor Masayuki Yamamoto, Professor and Chairman, Medical Biochemistry, Tohoku University, Japan

Dr. Masayuki Yamamoto has held many positions at Tohoku University, including Professor, Dean of the Graduate School of Medicine, and Vice President. He received the 104th Japan Academy Prize in 2014 and the Oxygen Club of California and Jarrow Formulas Health Science Prize in 2012.

Currently he is Deputy Director of the GCOE Program which focuses on Genomics and Infectious Diseases. They are seeking to develop new treatments, preventatives and control measures for cancer and infectious diseases and to focus on research for implementing personalised medicine. In addition they are creating a centre for training the young talent who will shoulder the burden of developing cutting edge therapies for treating these maladies.

Professor Charlie Xiang, Infectious Diseases, School of Medicine, Zhejiang University, China

Professor Charlie Xiang Chunsheng, is currently Qiu-Shi Professor and Associate Director, State Key Laboratory for Diagnosis and Treatment of Infectious Diseases, the First Affiliated Hospital, School of Medicine, Zhejiang University. He is also Chief Scientist and Principal Investigator, China’s Basic Research Program (973 Program), Ministry of Science and Technology of China.

Previously he was Director Microarray Facility, J. Craig Venter Institute, Rockville, Maryland, USA. His current research focuses on Human Gut Microbiota, Metabolism and Infections.

Dr Julie Makani, Principal Investigator, Visiting Fellow and Consultant Physician, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Dr Julie Bob Makani is a Clinical Research Fellow in the Nuffield Department of Medicine and is based in the Department of Haematology and Blood Transfusion at Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (www.muchs.ac.tz) which is the main clinical, academic and research centre in Tanzania. Also a visiting fellow and consultant to the Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, she is based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. In collaboration with colleagues, she has developed a biomedical research and healthcare program which is one of the largest SCD cohorts from one centre in the world. Her current interest is in the role of anaemia and foetal haemoglobin in influencing disease burden in SCD In 2011, she received the Royal Society Pfizer Award for her work with sickle cell disease.

Dr Eugene Arthurs, Executive Director, SPIE, The International Society for Optics and Photonics, Washington State​, USA

Dr Eugene G. Arthurs is currently Executive Director of SPIE, an international society advancing an interdisciplinary approach to the science and application of light. Dr Arthurs received his Ph.D. from Queens University Belfast, N.Ireland on the generation and measurement of tunable ultrashort pulses. He then moved to Imperial College in London where he conducted U.S. Air Force sponsored research on lasers.

Dr Arthurs has been active in the American Society for Lasers in Medicine of which he was a founding member, the Council for Optical Radiation Measurement, and the OSA at a local and national level. He is currently a member of SPIE, OSA, IEEE, AAAS, and ASAE. He is a member of the board of Edmund Optics, the Advisory Boards to the Canadian Institute for Photonics Innovation and the Scottish University Physics Alliance, and also a member of the Photonics21 Board of Stakeholders. A former Congressional District Organiser, he remains active in Bread for the World, an educational and public policy organisation working on the basic causes of world hunger.

Mr Simon Denegri, National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) National Director for Patients and the Public in Research and Chair, INVOLVE, UK

Mr Denegri was appointed the National Institute for Health Research’s (NIHR) first National Director for Patients and the Public in Research and Chair of INVOLVE – the national advisory group for the promotion and support of public involvement in research funded by NIHR.

Prior to this he was Chief Executive of the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) and Director, Corporate Communications, Royal College of Physicians of London. Prior to these appointments, he was Assistant Chief Executive, Alzheimer’s Society (UK) and Procter & Gamble’s Corporate and Financial PR Manager based in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA.  

Mr Denegri studied politics and legislative studies at the University of Hull, is a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (MCIPR) and the Royal Society of Medicine (RSM). He writes and speaks on issues concerning the public and health research.  Particular areas of interest include:  public involvement in research; public attitudes to science; use of online and digital media for public involvement and engagement; health research regulation; the pharma industry; dementia and mental health.